It seems strange to think that Annika will be starting preschool in August. Yes, we’ve picked a preschool and she’s enrolled.
We went with the school that had less diversity. Even though there are no other African American children in the school, we decided that ultimately, the school with the better educational prospects was better for Annika.
The school’s educational philosphy is Reggio Emilia. It’s child-led philosophy, something I wanted very much for Annika. I have always felt that it would be very important for her to be in an environment early on where she has some control over her own learning process, something that I think, looking back on my childhood, I would have greatly benefited from.
When I started the tour of the school, I was impressed immediately with the complex projects they did with the kids. Over the past year, the children had done a long-term project about the solar system. The classrooms were decorated with various planetary artwork. The school also documents their progress throughout the year.
The director was pretty amazing. Every question I asked was met with detailed answers. I could tell that the school holds much respect for the children as individuals. The discipline policy was more the adequate. They believe in the same approaches that I do: no shaming, no time-outs, discussion without punitive measures, no forced apologies, understanding the needs behind actions. I was impressed.
When I broached the topic of race with the director she listened intently to my concerns about the lack of diversity and how discussions about race would be handled, and even initiated by the teacher. She was interested, intrigued, and suggested that we discuss with Annika’s teacher how the language and discussion should be approached.
The school is one that not only tolerates, but encourages parental participation. I think that the amount of discussions toward racial diversity and awareness might need to be instigated by myself, or Toyin. But I think overall, it will be a welcome topic, by the school, and hopefully other parents. My hope is that we will be good for the school in that aspect, and the school will address all other educational needs in the best manner we could hope for.
So, all in all. I’m happy with our choice.
In an ideal world we could have both, awesome education and diversity. I’m sure that it exists somewhere. But the reality is, for the most part, Annika’s world will not be the same as many other children in this country. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It’s all about our perspective though.
When I made my initial posts about this topic, someone on my Facebook page suggested that this be one way that Annika might become a leader. I like that idea. Although it’s really too soon to tell, I’d like to think that Annika has that potential to be a leader. Perhaps this will be her start.
We’re looking forward to starting. Annika has been telling me for a few months that she wants to go to school. She is fascinated by school buses. She likes the idea of going to school and learning with a teacher. I don’t think she’s entirely certain how she feels about going to school without me there. We’ve been reading the book, “Llama Llama Misses Mama.” It’s about Llama’s first time to go to school and feeling lonely because her mama left her alone at school. But in the end, she decides that she can love school and mama.